HCA Healthcare Hero: ER nurse donates liver to child she never met

Woman hugging young girl

National Nurses Week makes now a better time than ever to shine a light on extraordinary acts of care provided by nurses. Pamela Assid, an emergency room nurse at HealthONE’s Sky Ridge Medical Center, demonstrated courage, kindness and compassionate care earlier this year when she saved a 7-year-old’s life by donating her liver.

“Pam is very unique in that she is a nurse leader, but she is a nurse first,” Sky Ridge Chief Operating Officer and registered nurse Kirk McCarty said of Assid, who serves as the hospital’s emergency department director. “She’s working and taking care of patients, probably more often than she is working as a manager. And you can tell she was born to be a nurse, and that’s just the core of her being. The fact that she would do this isn’t surprising really at all.”

Assid first learned of young Addilyn Hawks’ condition from her uncle who is also a nurse at Sky Ridge. The ailing 7-year-old, affectionately known as Addie, was diagnosed with a rare liver disease at 10 months old. Last April, her liver began failing and the search for live donor options began.

“I guess I thought if that was my daughter, I would want to give her every possible opportunity to have somebody that could potentially be a match,” Assid told the Denver CBS affiliate.

The 23-year veteran nurse was chosen as the best candidate for Addie. The two underwent the surgery on January 16.

“She is extremely selfless. She stepped right up and didn’t even think twice about it and that just shows a lot about her character and her love for people and her generosity,” said Krystin, Addie’s mom.

We are proud to have nurses like Pamela Assid as caregivers in the HCA Healthcare family. She is our newest HCA Healthcare Hero and here is her story. (HCA Healthcare internal audience can watch the video here.)

HCA Healthcare 50th Anniversary
In 1968, HCA Healthcare was conceived by two physicians and an accomplished business leader — Dr. Thomas Frist Sr., Dr. Thomas Frist Jr., and Jack Massey. This year, HCA Healthcare celebrates its golden anniversary and the culture of caring established by our three founders 50 years ago. To help us celebrate our 50th year, we’ll share stories here that reflect HCA Healthcare’s mission – above all else, the care and improvement of human life – and our pledge to improve life and make history for the next 50 years and beyond.

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 183 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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